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The Alpinist Mountain Standards reviews apply Alpinist's tradition of excellence and authenticity to gear reviews by providing unbiased, candid feedback and anecdotal commentary to equipment tested (hard) in the field. Our panel is comprised of climbers who use the gear every day as part of their work and play. Only the gear they would actually buy themselves, at retail price, qualifies for the Alpinist Mountain Standards award. The five-star rating system is as follows:
One Star = Piece of junk.
Two Stars = Has one or more significant flaws, with some redeeming qualities.
Three Stars = Average. This solid piece of gear is middle-of-the-road on the current market.
Four Stars = Better than most comparable gear on the market. It has one or two drawbacks, but still 90% positive.
Five Stars = Is there such thing as perfection? An Alpinist Mountain Standards award-winner.
I was psyched when Vanessa handed me the Patagonia Men's Down Jacket at the Snake River Brew Pub in Jackson Hole to try out. I was in town for some AMGA training and spent time touring in Grand Teton National Park and on Teton Pass. After wearing it around Jackson and some in the Northwest – where I'm based – I’ve found it very comfortable, well designed, and of course, warm.
During my first outing, the gusty winds and generally stormy conditions were enough to force my partner and I to descend from three quarters of the way up Cerro Torre's Compressor Route. Upon returning to camp on the Torre Glacier's "Sandy Wash," we were stoked to find the MSR Wind 2, standing as we left it, holding its own against the catabatic's ripping down from the Hielo Sur (the Southern Ice cap).